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Milestones: Memoirs, 1927-1977
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on January 5, 2003
Cardinal Ratzinger's memoirs are brief and pleasant enough to read easily in one sitting. They are full of interesting biographical background that conjures a picture of family and professional life full of simple joys and of earnest intellectual pursuit of the truth. It is a refreshing and inspiring picture given the prevalence of cynicism and nihilism in our modern Western societies. His vignettes once again demonstrate that simplicity of life is the best route to lasting joy.
But in addition to the personal, we also have insight into the theological and cultural currents in the Church from the end of the Second World War into the late seventies. Especially interesting is Ratzinger's view of the Second Vatican Council from within and how destructive forces have exploited the Council in ways unimaginable to the Council Fathers. The other related facet is the frank portrayal of the ongoing conflict within the Church-- a conflict between those who accept the revelation of the living God given in both Scripture and Tradition always necessarily together (and never apart), and those who wish to remake the Church into an essentially agnostic society whose beliefs fluctuate with the latest academic fads. This book makes a perfect introduction to Cardinal Ratzinger's theological works.
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on January 5, 2003
Cardinal Ratzinger's memoirs are brief and pleasant enough to read easily in one sitting. They are full of interesting biographical background that conjures a picture of family and professional life full of simple joys and of earnest intellectual pursuit of the truth. It is a refreshing and inspiring picture given the prevalence of cynicism and nihilism in our modern Western societies. His vignettes once again demonstrate that simplicity of life is the best route to lasting joy.
But in addition to the personal, we also have insight into the theological and cultural currents in the Church from the end of the Second World War into the late seventies. Especially interesting is Ratzinger's view of the Second Vatican Council from within and how destructive forces have exploited the Council in ways unimaginable to the Council Fathers. The other related facet is the frank portrayal of the ongoing conflict within the Church-- a conflict between those who accept the revelation of the living God given in both Scripture and Tradition always necessarily together (and never apart), and those who wish to remake the Church into an essentially agnostic society whose beliefs fluctuate with the latest academic fads. This book makes a perfect introduction to Cardinal Ratzinger's theological works.
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on January 12, 2004
Joseph Ratzinger is one of the most significant Catholic theologians of the modern era. However, from his memoirs one wouldn't fully understand why. He writes lightly about his life in pre-war Germany and harrowingly of what he and his family endured during the war itself. As he traces his development as a priest and theologian we only receive tantalizing hints as to how and why his theological thought developed as it did.
It's a nice read, and a quick one, but one would do better to read the two volumes of interviews that Peter Seewald conducted with Ratzinger to get an understanding of his mind in a less formal setting than in his published theology.
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